Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale | Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

BA SCORE
86
very good
1,137 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score
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Monk's Café Flemish Sour AleMonk's Café Flemish Sour Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Belgium
vansteenberge.com

Style: Flanders Oud Bruin

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed for Monk's Café in Philadelphia, but also available for retail purchase elsewhere. Oud Bruin in style; a traditional blend of young and old beers.

Added by nomad on 06-19-2003

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,137
Ratings:
2,930
Avg:
3.84
pDev:
13.28%
 
 
Wants:
88
Gots:
450
For Trade:
6
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Reviews: 1,137 | Ratings: 2,930
Photo of grub
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

DrJay hooked me up with this one. thanks jay!

pours a deep ruby red, nearly brown, with a half inch of dense off-white head.

aroma is nice. distinct sourness. fruity, cherry and raspberry. slightly vinous.

taste is good. nice moderate sourness. mild acidity. cherry and a bit of raspberry. sweet, but not syrupy. slightly woody. at first i thought this beer was a little thin/watery, but it really grew legs once it warmed a little. still feels a bit lacking, but good.

mouthfeel is nice. carbonation level feels a touch low.

drinkability is good. an interesting beer.

 583 characters

Photo of portia99
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle poured into a Russian River Belgian stemmed glass.

A - Pours a clear, dark amber with ruby highlights. A thick finger of dense cream colored fluffy head sticks around for a good long time. As it slowly fades, it leaves behind some thick lacing on the sides of the glass.

S - A good combination of aromas this the beer. Good amount of fruity cherries, a slight tartness, some spicy cinnamon, a touch of brown sugar, and some bready malt to round things out.

T - Slightly tart at first fading to a sugary sweetness that lingers throughout. Good bready malt underneath. Cherry like fruit in middle of the flavors. A bit too sweet to be ideal for my tastes.

M - Thin in body, ample carbonation. Leaves a sugary coating all over the lips after every sip. Light and refreshing, but a little less sweet would help things out a bit...for me anyway.

D - Interesting and a bit different from what I'm used to. Light and pretty refreshing. Goes better with some light snacks, cheeses than it does drinking by itself. The flavors complement the food where drinking on its own is a bit too much sweetness.

 1,111 characters

Photo of Slynger
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Murky cranberried brown with a lid of frothy-creamy light brown coloring

Smells of tart cherries, lightly red wine and vinegary, with sweet wood and spicy hops.

The taste has a light brown sugar / woody sweetness before tart cranberries punch me playfully in the mouth. Dry red and caramely malts help to balance with mild herbal hops. Light medium body feels lightly acidic, and has a frothy carbonation.

Pleasant and mild for the most part, it did not come in as sour as I feared it may have. Good flavor and balance to it and one I definitely would not object to having again.

 582 characters

Photo of korguy123
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle into snifter.

A- Super dark brown pour with a slight purple/red hue to it. Two finger fizzy off white head that quickly drops to a thin cap. Lacing sheets quite well.

S- Lemon, sugar sweetness, slight grape juice (Welches) there is a small amount of funk going on in here but it is very subdued.

T- Slightly watery at the beginning, than a pucker from the grape juice like taste. Than a little funk finishing with a woody dryness. It's very progressive taste wise as it changes on your tongue.

M- Light, prickly carbonation and very refreshing.

O- This is a very "friendly" Flanders. Very light and refreshing, would have liked a little more zing. Solid beer overall though.

 693 characters

Photo of ptykozoon
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours orange tinged brown. Pillowy head, good lacing.

Citrus, sour grape, wet wood, musky sourness.

Sweet cherry notes, ripe grapes, a tinge of blackberry and an earthy background. I really wish this was more sour. The fruity sweetness overwhelms.

Refreshing, slightly buttery finish, carbonation is a bit spritzy but not dominating.

Overall tasty, good introductory sour.

 377 characters

Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured into the chalice clear deep amber brown with a white head which retreated quickly to the edges of the surface but lasted to lace the glass.

The aroma was acidic and lightly sour with a fruity aroma of cherries and berries melded with corn sweetness and earthiness.

The flavor was just barely sour and lacking in complexity. The sourness exhibited in the aroma was lacking in the flavor. The flavor did contain a slight cherry fruitiness, a nice crispness and some corn flavors, but exhibited no real complexity.

The finish was dry with just some slight fruit flavoring of cherries. The body was The aroma really leads one astray and the flavor just cannot backup the promise made by the aromatics. Highly drinkable, but devoid of character.

11.2 ounce bottle, code date on back is 16DC.

 814 characters

Photo of Shaken9
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got 750ml bottle from Healthy Home Market in Charlotte, NC

Appearance - medium brown with hints of ruby, thin fizzy head that dissipated quickly, very little lacing.

Smell - Slightly acidic with faint cherries, raspberries, very light vinegar and earthy funkiness.

Taste - Not very sour, more wine like acidity than anything, light malt and sour cherries in the finish. A bit of sweetness at first that yields to the lactic acidity. Just a hair too thin, watery, might be from the effervescent nature of this beer. A good beginners sour, but lacking the body and depth of flavor of other excellent sours (ie Rodenbach).

Mouthfeel - Very light, thin, fizzy... A bit too fizzy for the style but balances with the light flavor of the beer.

Drinkability - A fair, drinkable sour, especially for people who have never tried sours, though I would propose that beginners start with excellent examples first, some people like to "ease" into stronger styles like sours.

Overall, it's an ok representation of the style and is probably blended to appeal to a wider number of palates. As such, it's a passable sour, but more like a sparkling wine in its acidity than a vinegary or mouth puckering sour. Not bad if you can't find other sours around.

 1,242 characters

Photo of TurdFurgison
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Drank on tap at Naja's in Redondo Beach, served in a Fin Du Monde chalice.

Appearance: Dark reddish brown, with wispy head lingering for a few minutes.

Smell: Sour lambic kind of aroma, with some cherries.

Taste: Very sour and bitter, nice cherry flavor.

Notes: Tart, sour, sweet, and good. This was my first Flanders Red, so I really have no right to judge it. I just know I enjoyed it. Maybe I'll revisit this beer review after I get more experience.

 479 characters

Photo of danielharper
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

My first beer of this style.

Appearance: Opaque brown body, slightly reddish coloration. Small khaki-colored head that dissipates quickly. Leaves a small amount of lacing.

Smell: Sour, tarty aroma, a hint of that "mustardy" aroma I always get from lambics, has the aroma of a wild ale, probably due to the yeast. Slightly musky at the bottom. This seems pretty much what I expected for-style, so I'm giving it a 4.

Taste: Strong notes of sourness up front. Breadiness in the middle, slightly malty and grainy. Underneath the sourness is a mild touch of apples and cherry. Finishes clean and dry with only a slight tart.

Mouthfeel: Fairly thin mouthfeel, no real carbonation, slightly chewy.

Drinkability: I'm dinging this a bit because I find it fairly undrinkable. I know the tartness and the sourness is to-style, but for my palate it's fairly overwhelming. I've given it credit in the higher categories, so I don't feel bad for dropping its score a bit here.

 968 characters

Photo of Tilley4
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Been on a sour kick lately and this is my latest acquisition...

I'm getting more sweet fruity aromas off of this than with most Flanders... It's almost a sweet Belgian sugar-like aroma with hints of vinegar and perhaps some cherries... Definitely not overwhelmingly sour like some of the recent offerings I've had...

Well, this is definitely sweeter than most of the style and doesn't have near the sourness either... It's not necessarily bad or anything but it seems fairly subdued really. Hints of vinegar attempt to urge a bit of tartness out here but this one is all about the sweetness...

I did like this brew... However... in the world of sours, I probably won't pick this one up again... There are just way too many other offerings to choose from

 756 characters

Photo of dukew456
3.64/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into my Duvel tulip

A - Pours a clear mahogony/ruby color with a modest head that recedes, leaving moderate to light lacing. Pretty standard fare in this department, but with a splotchy head.

S - Smell is of a very lactic and sour nature, with a slight yeastiness coming through. Dark cherries and other sweet fruits also come through, along with that vinegary burn. I've always been reminded of vinegary, Carolina-style BBQ sauce when I smell these kinds of beers...weird.

T - The taste on this is much more cloyingly sweet than I expected, even for a Belgian sour. Candied fruits and cherries dominate up front, with that reliable lactic funk permeating throughout. The finish is almost port-like because of the sweetness and acidity of this style.

M&D - A tad bit highly carbonated for my impressions of the style, but it still works pretty well. Because of the sugary sweetness that isn't as counter-balanced by the sourness that I would like, I'd probably skip having more than one of these. Still pretty enjoyable though.

 1,062 characters

Photo of beesy
3.64/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 11.2 ounce bottle into a Sam Adams glass.

A - pours a brilliant dark reddish orange with a finger and a half khaki colored light bodied head that dissipates quickly.

S - vinegar, sour and tangy notes

T - slightly sweet at the front of the palate that quickly turns in to significant amounts of sour and dark cherries that again quickly changes to green apples with a touch of vinegar and cherry coke as it meets the back palate. A lasting sourness of green apples lingers.

M - medium mouthfeel with a fair amount of carbonation.

D - easy to get down, but is somewhat filling due to carbonation.

Overall, a nice sour. Not much I'd change except maybe adding a touch more sourness.

 703 characters

Photo of Magpie14
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: a cranberry red body with some crimson and amber hues. The glass is filled with activity. A very stringy and foamy blob sat on top, it left a few splashes of lace. I like the deep crested color it brings

S: tangy and sour with some yeast and bread whiffs. Some fruits are noticeable, maybe a cherry or two. It smells relatively fresh for the style, nothing overly yeasty in the nose

T: flavors meld together nicely, there is a slap on the tongue that is reminiscent of tart cherries, cranberries, and a variety of bitter apples baked in a loaf of stale bread. The flavors are sour and tickle the tongue rather well. My palate also gathers an ample dose of acidity that, in some ways, helps keep things clean and from being overly full of pucker power. The last part of the sip finishes just a bit sweet

M: light body with a rather clean and crisp snap due to the carbonation levels. I am adjusting to the flavors after the initial blast of tart. I can safely say, it's and easy drinker for the style

D: good sipper. My acquaintance with sour ales is in the novice phase and I think I started with a pretty good one. Not my favorite style of beer, but it is good to mix things up

 1,185 characters

Photo of SPLITGRIN
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A deep brownish red carmel colored body hosts a rocky swiss cheese bubbled foamy head. Head has nice staying power and leaves spotty scattered lace all over. Nose is a very funky crisp tartness with hints of cherry, rubarb, and powder candy(like pixie sticks). A musty sour funk soaks the mouth on first sip. The tartness is really much more mild and enjoyable than the firsy mouth full had shown. The sour feel dries out a bit and actually balances with a hint of sweetness. Mouthfeel is that same dry sour hue that is very pleasant. Drinkability is high for this style for me. This was a very nice change from some of the blunt mouth destroyers that other sour beers are to me.

 679 characters

Photo of bgreg3
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

app- deep amber colors are richer in middle of the glass, and has high levels of carbonation far after pouring.

smell- sour smell with sweet notes lingering in the back. Yeasty overtone. very enticing smell.

taste- Other characteristics of the beer stand out more than the taste. Tart and sour sensations rush your tongue but become sweet in just a second. The taste neutralizes to a beer tasting of amber malt and German yeast. No hops noticed, but it works for the most part.

MF- Bubbly and tingly. The carbonations mixed with the sour notes allows the beer to dance on your tongue in a most enjoyable way.

Drink- This beer killed my palate. It would have been difficult to taste other proceeding beers.

Give this one a go! very interesting!

 748 characters

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 11.2fl.oz brown glass bottle sealed with a standard crown cap. Main and neck label are the same as the BA Avatar. No strength or freshness listed.


Appearance: Ruby chestnut body with a nice looking light tan colored head that stayed at 1” deep for a short while, even when it settled a uniform cap covers the surface. Conditioning seems low, but the overall appearance is solid. Soft Belgian lacing is persistent.

Nose: Saggy soft sour aroma with a wet wood nose. Like rotting bark after a rain storm in the forest, the nose seems to impart a dying freshness. Gentle funk and a delicate dark spice hint.

Taste: Woody feel, damp cloth and soured malts blend with a background lactic lace. A little reticent with a faded sourness seems to allow the yeast to break through here and there.

Mouthfeel: Light body that struggles to maintain a medium overall projection. Can feel thin but it certainly does not feel wanting, the low density adds to the Drinkability here in this case.

Drinkability: A refreshing libation, the low end sourness and laid back light body all conspire to lend a comfort angle that makes this hard to put the glass down.

Overall: I have not seen this one on the West Coast before, so when I spied this lone bottle on the shelves at Hi-Times in Costa Mesa I snapped up the chance to try it again. Hmmmm, nice enough, but a bit of a let down, I think that the draft version is much better, the bottle just seems to lacks balls.

 1,482 characters

Photo of PeterIngemi
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from and 11.2oz bottle into a duvel glass.

A: pours a deep redish brown with about a finger of tan with a hint of red head that dissapates nicley... Not much lacing to speak of.

S: earthy funk... Oak... Red fruit jammyness... Mostly cherry not bad smelling brew... Nothing particularly ovehlming or exciting in the nose.

T: deffinate jammyness... With some notes of sour cherry... Deffinatly not very sour, a subtle cola like quality, a touch of toasted grains...

M: light medium body with a medium creamy mouthfeel and a nice clean finish.

O: a good beer, nothing overly exciting, but a solid brew, personally wish the sourness was dialed up a bit long with a little more complexity in the profile... But it is I no way a bad beer.

 745 characters

Photo of EkimGram
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: 11.2oz bottle poured into Duvel tulip. Colour is a rosy brown, 1/2 finger head that is rather busy and bubbly fades quickly to a thin film and lacing. Decent amount of visible carbonation towards the top.

Smell: Somewhat tart yet roasty. Sour cherries and malt are the strongest aromas.

Taste: Much tarter than the smell, sour and sweet. The cherry flavours float over everything else. Complex and interesting.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied, carbonated with a sharp initial bite. Finishes somewhat sticky.

Overall: This was my first sour and I must say I'm pleasantly surprised. The flavours are all nice and balanced. Mouthfeel is a little abrasive for my taste but that's it.

 687 characters

Photo of pentathlete
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark translucent red with medium head that sticks around for a bit and laces the glass. Plenty of carbonation and a nose of mellow aspirin sourness, maybe some tart fruit too. Starts off with smooth almost watery base that moves into a tart middle that doesn't quite last long enough or get intensely sour. Slightly disappointing in that regard. Mouthfeel is medium, the finish leans toward metallic. This is drinkable because the sourness doesn't overpower, but that's why I buy a Flemish Ale. This isn't as bad as the Lindeman's Gueuze, but if it were any sweeter it would be pushing it.

 589 characters

Photo of yourefragile
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle poured into a tulip

A: Deep chestnut/amber color, slightly murky but mostly clear. Large tan head that has little retention, quickly dissipating to a thin ring and no film. However, clumpy rings of lacing are left behind all the way down the glass.
S: Was expecting a stronger smell. Sweet, malty background with some funky, fruity aromas up front, but there is also a strong diacetyl-smell detracts from it.
T: Starts off as expected with a sour twang, of ripe fruit, green apples, etc. Surprising taste of malty sweetness occasionally pokes through before strong vinegary sour finish again with buttery taste.
M: Crisp, refreshing, but slightly thin. Carbonation compliments sour flavors nicely, but finish is cloying and buttery along with the sour.
D: Great flavor and appearance, but the smell and especially the mouthfeel leave me wanting more. For the price and availability a great pick up, especially as an introduction to sour beers for someone.

 973 characters

Photo of KevinBrewer
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The dark bloodwood color is impressive. The brew is clear, and it has a nice light tan head with moderate retention and minimal lacing.

The nose is of sour cherries, kind of like sweettarts, balanced with a rich woody scent. There is a slight hint of vinegar in the background.

The taste of sweet cherries is most noticeable at first, followed by a block of wood hitting you in the face. More sweetness and tartness follow the woodiness. The aftertaste is similar to the aftertaste of sweettarts. I can't get that connection out of my head. There is also some grain husk in the aftertaste.

It seems to be medium bodied at first, but the texture melts away halfway through. I think the wood flavor makes the body initially seem heavier than it really is. The carbonation is good, and the finish is dry.

Very drinkable. This is one of my first sours, and I thought it was a real treat. I was kind of scared of it tasting like feet or vinegar after reading some forum posts on sour beers, but I was pleasantly surprised. The woodiness was a nice touch. I'd like to drink another, but I only bought one. :(

 1,107 characters

Photo of dragonWhale
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a brilliant amber into my chalice of delights, with a white head that slowly dissipates, leaving a ring around the edge. It smells sweet and malty, with a slight sour twinge to it..
In the taste, the sour comes out boldly, buoyed by the sweetness of the young blend. The interplay is well done, creating a beverage that is tart but very drinkable. I certainly enjoyed this, though it was a bit vinegary.

 409 characters

Photo of LambicPentameter
3.62/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - deep ruby-red hue when lit, but burgundy, almost black appearance upon glance. Semi-opaque. Frothy head is beige and dissipates after 30-60 seconds.

Smell - dominant cherry aroma with hints of currant. Hint of sour, but rounding out into a sweetness.

Taste - strawberry and cherry tartness, but the sour complexity never arrives. Dry finish and a bit bland.

Mouthfeel - light effervescent carbonation. Silky thin coating.

Overall - a drinkable beer due to how mild it is, but also doesn't strike me as a beer I would just drink to drink. Not complex enough of a flavor or aroma to keep me coming back.

 618 characters

Photo of bilyboy65
3.62/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into my standard pilsner style glass.

This is probably the first and last of this style that I'll be having. It was hard to remain objectionable to the style for this review. Funny thing is I like sour things, just apparently not my beer.

A: Flawless. Beautiful dark red-brown color that is still a little transparent. Lots of carbonation can be seen feeding a tan-redish head. No lacing or film left on the glass.

S: Very much like vinegar to me. Some underlining fruit, cranberry maybe, esters is the only saving grace the smell has.

T: Very sour taste with cranberry esters for flavor. Tastes a lot like a cider or a wine.

M: Light bodied with good action on the tongue from the carbonation.

D: If you can stand sour beer this is probably a good one.

 784 characters

Photo of Kelp
3.62/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured out a redish brown color with a nice little head on it. Smelled strongly of tart cherries and a hint of balsamic vinegar. Definitely a tart cherry taste followed by a sweet malt to finish it off. Kind of like a sour cherry candy. Mouth feels smooth a decent amount of carbonation with a dryness on the end of it. I could only have one maybe two of these and then get sick of it. My first foray as far as i know into sours and it wasn't bad, but not great either.

 469 characters

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
3.84 out of 5 based on 2,930 ratings.
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